Monday, October 01, 2007

Mr Krueger's Christmas

In my post on Church Ball, I expressed surprise at the fact that Mormon filmmakers were hiring big-name non-Mormon actors, but today it occurred to me that this has been going on for a while now. Classic example: Mr. Krueger's Christmas, starring Jimmy Stewart (YouTube, anyone?).

Anyway, this movie is mostly kind of weird, as it features dream/fantasy sequences of Mr. K doing stuff like conducting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and trying on suits while attractive young women check him out. But, one part that is not really that weird and is actually incredibly touching is when he is dreaming and he sees the infant Jesus, and he goes up to talk to him (about 18:20 on the YouTube). He looks at his clothes and at first looks embarrassed at what he is wearing, but then remembers that it's baby Jesus and that it doesn't really matter.

He thanks him for being with him in the hours after his wife dies. Then he approaches baby Jesus.

Mr Krueger to baby Jesus:
"You are my closest, my finest friend. And, and that means that I can hold my head high wherever I go. Thank you."

As I was watching this today, I just could not hold back the tears, and it felt wonderful to be moved so clearly and simply with spirit. What would I say to Jesus if he was right here in front of me? What specific moment of comfort would I be most thankful for? Could I really say that he was my closest and finest friend?

I can hold my head high wherever I go.

Wow. Whenever I say that, it kills me.

I guess the main thing that I take out of the Mr. Krueger's experience, is that it is just as important to be a friend as it is to have friends. No matter how awesome someone's life might appear to be, everybody at some point will feel the crushing loneliness of existence of this earth. All around, you see people trying to not get left behind, not to be left alone, to have some kind of meaningful companionship, something that will hopefully lead to their funeral being a well-attended and celebratory event.

When I get in this state of mind (and this is of course a sometimes thing), when I look at people, I feel like I can see people as their undying spirits, in a world with no floor and no walls, a world different than this one. A place where there is no debt of finance or debt of suffering. I feel like I can see people not as a sum of the experiences of this world that have shaped them into these temporary manifestations of individuality, but as if we had all been to summer camp or on a cruise together or on some really monumental vacation somewhere exotic. Is that what it will be like when we are all hanging out in the afterlife? I guess what I am saying is that when I feel the spirit, it helps me to see people as their souls and not just as these flawed people who wear weird clothes. And that's a strange feeling, because it's like, even it it's someone I don't even know very well, I want to say "Wow, I can't believe that we are in this thing together. What is it that we are supposed to teach each other? Can you believe that we are on the journey of life together, right here right now, and all we can think to do is talk about Wii-related injuries?" It will blow your mind.

There are some people who I feel see me as my soul, and not just my personality. People who can overlook my weakness, and my boringness and my irresponsibilty and who for some reason appreciate me exactly as I am. And, there are some people who by conventional logic I should not want to hang out with but who I cannot help but feel a mysterious and intense sense of gravity towards. And I think this might come from these feelings of spirit, and seeing other people's spirits instead of their earthly manifestations of self.

I think that I have been worrying too much about myself and not enough about the souls all around me and that seeing people spiritually this will (hopefully) alleviate that wet mop feeling I sometimes get. The wet mop feeling is not sorrow. I cannot and do not want to get rid of sorrow, because that is an important thing to feel, but I want to feel a sorrow that has purpose, a concern for the experiences of others and not so much a selfish sorrow for myself.

Like the Christmas carolers in Mr Krueger's Christmas, I think we get caught up in doing what is seemingly the right thing while sometimes forgetting what is fundamentally the most important. The carolers are so intent on spreading holiday cheer with their jolly songs that they do not realize that people like Mr Krueger can be made happy simply by being included.

It might seem crazy to you, but often the best thing you can give is yourself. Live young and old. And why isn't it cold?


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